....................... ...........1/2002
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Iceland's Quarashi sounds like one part Beastie Boy's and part industrial-strength hard Rock, making its U.S. debut with their CD Jinx. Following the release of two gold albums in its homeland, Reykjavik, a small city in the North Atlantic. Quarashi was originally formed by Sölvi and Hössi in 1996. After playing together in a local punk rock band called 2001 they both felt a need for greater experimentation and developed a preference for studio production over band rehearsal-style songwriting. Sölvi produced a demo track, Hössi laid down the rhymes, and the pair's first single, "Switchstance," sold out all 500 copies in a week. Their full-length debut CD was recorded in October of 1997 and sold over 6,000 copies, going on to be certified as gold in Iceland. That same year Quarashi opened for both the Fugees and the Prodigy. One of the last songs on their Jinx is "Dive In," a techno ballad where Quarashi displays even more stylistic versatility. To a mellow ethereal backing track spiced up by scratching and keyboards. The quartet-Blöndal (the set's producer), Stoney Fjelsted, Hössi Olafsson, and Ómar Swarez-is well poised for similar success here. Lead single "Stick 'Em Up," a powerful stadium-sized anthem finds guitars, drums, and turntable wizardry wickedly cavorting in the course of a three-minute-plus track. On "Tarfur," the band proudly displays its '70s-shaded funk roots, while "Mr. Jinx" spotlights the group's hip-hop sensibilities, with band members trading verses over a tweaked old-school beat. Certainly not a one-note act, Quarashi showcases a smoother side on tracks like the mellow "Malone lives" and the lush "Copycat" and "Dive In. On Jinx the beats range from straight-up hip-hop to murky industrial, sometimes provided by a drum machine, other times by a live drummer. Turntable scratches give way to fat bass lines and screeching guitars. Background vocals blend with the flows of two or three rappers at a time. Horns, voices, and piano rolls are sampled and distorted. The state of the art production is as impressive as anything coming from either side of the Atlantic acts like Quarashi should be able to easily create their own niche.

By Randy Cohen

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   Quarashi band are
Hössi (huh´-see) Olafsson - Lead Vocals
Steini (stain´-ee) Fjelsted (fyel´-stead) - Rapper
Omar Swarez - Rapper
Sölvi (sewl´-vee) - Drums

Solvi - drums

Check out Songs of

Quarashi in real audio: Stick 'Em Up
Transparent Parents
Dive In

Album Title: Jinx